Why Is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water?

Cat drinking water out of a glass

Water is an important substance, and every living thing depends on it — including your cat. But it's also possible for too much water to make your cat sick. If you think your cat is drinking more than usual or may be drinking too much water, it's important to get them checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any illnesses or other issues. Learn more about how much water your cat should drink and potential signs of a problem below.

How Much Water Should My Cat Be Drinking?

Every cat is unique, and how much water your cat should be drinking depends on many factors. These include their overall health, their activity level, whether they eat dry or wet cat food and their personal preference. For example, indoor cats that live in climate control are likely to need — and therefore drink — less water than a cat who is outside in the summer heat. If you feed your cat wet food, this can account for a decent amount of their daily water intake. 

In general, your cat knows how much to drink, and it's best to follow their lead unless there is some other sign of a problem. However, if you're looking for a rough guide for how much your cat should be drinking every day, you can use this breakdown by age and weight:

  • Kitten (up to 3 months) weighing up to 1.4 kg should drink around 70ml
  • Kitten (6 months) weighing up to 2.7 kg should drink around 135ml
  • Medium cat weighing up to 4 kg should drink around 200ml
  • Large cat weighing up to 6 kg should drink around 300ml

How Can I Tell if My Cat Is Drinking Too Much?

It can be hard to monitor exactly how much water your cat is drinking. This is because they should always have access to fresh water, and water naturally evaporates throughout the day. So, even if your cat's water dish goes from full to empty over the course of the day, they may not have ingested all of that water. 

If you have multiple cats or other pets in the house, it's even harder to tell how much one individual cat is drinking. However, there are some signs that your cat may be drinking more than normal:

  • The cat is making more trips to the water bowl
  • You find the water bowl empty more than usual
  • Your cat is drinking from other places, such as toilets or sinks

Keep in mind that some cats prefer running water, so if your cat has always preferred to drink out of the sink, this is likely normal behaviour for them. What you're looking for are changes in their normal behaviour that can signal a problem.

Why Is My Cat Drinking a Lot of Water?

If you think your cat is drinking too much water, it's a good idea to have your veterinarian check them out. It could just be an increase in outside temperature or activity, but there are some illnesses and issues that can cause your cat to be thirstier than normal. Some of these include:

Your vet will ask you questions about your cat's health and behaviour and run tests to see if any of these issues could be the reason they're drinking more water than normal. Once they have determined the underlying cause, your vet can provide you with more information and a treatment plan for your cat.

When to Seek Help

While any change in behaviour is a good reason for a trip to the vet, if you notice any signs of illness in your cat, it's important to seek help immediately. This is especially true if you notice signs of dehydration, which can be dangerous. Signs of dehydration in cats include:

  • Dry gums 
  • Lethargy or depression 
  • Loss of appetite 
  • Decrease in skin elasticity 
  • Elevated heart rate 
  • Vomiting

You may have a dehydrated cat on your hands if you gently pinch the skin over their shoulders and the skin stays gathered when you release it. This is known as “skin tenting” and is a sign of dehydration.  

If you notice any of the above signs, call your veterinarian. They can give your cat fluids, rule out any potential illnesses and offer guidance on preventing dehydration in the future.

Make sure to also keep the water bowl clean and filled with fresh water, as your cat may not want to drink from a dirty or stale bowl.

Taking care of your cat means providing the right diet, enough water and plenty of love and care. Get more tips on how to keep your cat healthy and happy in our Cat Care Archives.

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